Croatian wine’s other side: Josić Graševina Superior 2017

Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel the coastal wines of Croatia need far less introduction at this point than they did 15 years ago. A warm, Mediterranean/Adriatic climate makes for easily-approachable, open wines with a wealth of fruit that tourists have readily discovered while on holiday; dipping toes in topaz waters and taking selfies on stony beaches.

Croatia’s interior and especially Slavonia is a different story. Far removed from the capital, Zagreb and literally on the other side of Bosnia Herzegovina from the Adriatic, it is quite often forgotten. This, is a pity.

While the rolling hills may not offer the dramatic landscape of the coast, there’s a fine food tradition that I admit I have yet to explore as much as I’ve wanted. And then there are the wines. This area, focused on Osijek and spreading east is a very large wine producing region for Croatia and yet, many people simply have never heard of it. Perhaps it’s due to there not yet being a star grape or PDO (registered region) from which the region can step from obscurity and out into the light. Given this, I would offer up the Graševina grape as a prime contender.

This name might not be familiar as it goes under many synonyms but in very apt decision by the authors of Wine Grapes they placed, Welschriesling, Laški Rizling, Riesling Italico, Borba (in Spain of all places), and all the other names under its main Croatian name, Graševina. Not only are the greatest wealth of vineyards in Croatia (and in fact it’s the most widely-planted grape), but it also just seems to be an excellent fit viticulturally, so much so that a conference was held last year in an effort to promote the region and this particular grape.

In some ways, it’s Croatia’s Chardonnay as there are many takes on the grape ranging from bone dry to dessert sweet. Wines can be made in stainless steel, oak, or even sat upon the lees in some cases. It can retain acidity without a problem if well cared for in the vineyard and is generally not that problematic to cultivate.

So, in a recent tasting session of Croatian wines, I came across this Graševina from the family estate of Josić. While the cellar is originally from 1935, they bought it 20 years and have been working to craft a better expression of the region which is something you see in only a few others producers, most notable Krauthaker. This wine by far stood out from the rest in the group in terms of quality and representing the essence of the region. It also happens to be available to buy online in case you’re curious what proper Graševina can taste like.

Graševina Superior 2017
White peach and pear, light undertone of green apple, vanilla sweetness, dried fruit, cut herbs. Crisp, lively acidity on the palate, nice burst of fresh citric notes to compliment the orchard fruit and medium-length finish.
100% Graševina 13.5% 10€
* 89